The conceit this season, as you've probably heard, is that there are three tribes: Beauty, Brains, and Brawn. Not that the people in the non-Beauty tribes are a bunch of uggos, or the people in the non-Brawn tribe are a bunch of scrawny toothpicks. It remains to be seen if the non-Brains are dummies.
When the tribes converge on the beach, Probst explains their designations and then each tribe has to appoint a leader. The leader picks the weakest person in the tribe to…do something? They don't know why they are choosing the person. Maybe to go home? Maybe to switch tribes? It turns out that each person gets to go to their own tribe's camp early for reasons. This seems really convoluted. The three tribes thing is already a little confusing; do we really need an extra twist?
The outcast gets to choose between an extra bag of rice for the tribe or a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol for themselves. Garrett from the Brains tribe chooses the clue and immediately starts looking. Trish from the Brawn tribe chooses the bag of rice like a dummy. Morgan from the Beauty tribe chooses the clue. Garrett finds the Idol. Morgan doesn't yet, but she does come up with a pretty good lie that she got to choose supplies for the tribe.
The Brawn Tribe is psyched that Trish got them an extra bag of rice, and they also welcome former NBA player Cliff Robertson. The Brains Tribe is annoyed by J'Tia, who barks orders at everyone.
At the Immunity Challenge, the tribes have to retrieve keys in order to unlock treasure chests, and then pull the heavy chests on a cart, then get the chests AND the cart through an obstacle. Then they have to reassemble the cart, and then open the chests to get puzzle pieces and assemble a puzzle. The Brain Tribe does poorly and Probst seems to relish taking every opportunity to denigrate the Brain Tribe about how poorly they are doing, and it's pretty gross. The Beauty Tribe finishes first, with Brawn second. So the Brains are going to Tribal Council.
The Brains discuss who to jettison. Some people want to get rid of J'Tia because she's bossy. Some people want to get rid of David because he's a threat. Garrett rallies the troops against David (partly as revenge for choosing him as the weakest, and partly just to get rid of a threat) and David goes home first.
With only five people left, the Brains tribe has split with the two guys, the two girls, and then Kass left as the swing vote. She verbally agrees to join up with the guys, but privately vows to keep her options open. Meanwhile, Tony on the Brawn tribe is already in full on paranoia and decides to build a spying spot into the tribe's shelter.
At the second Immunity Challenge, the tribe members must swim out and get some fish traps, then use the pieces inside to solve a puzzle. The Brain tribe gets back with quite a lead and J'Tia starts solving the puzzle. The Brawn tribe gets back second but Sarah finishes the puzzle first. The Beauty tribe is way behind but LJ quickly solves the puzzle and the Brain tribe completely blows their lead and it's all J'Tia's fault because she's terrible at puzzles.
The Brawn tribe gets a reward and Tony finds a Hidden Immunity Idol clue. He secretly goes searching and finds a Hidden Immunity Idol.
The Brains tribe all sit together and Garrett decides to announce that J'Tia should go home and then pretend that it's settled. Way to give her only ally, Tasha, time to scramble and get Kass on her side, dummy. Of course, it doesn't really matter what Tasha does because while she's trying to get people on her side, J'Tia decides to dump all of the rice in the fire. Then they go to Tribal Council and argue about whether or not it was a mistake to tell J'Tia she was going home. Garrett plays the victim and reveals too much information, then tries to backtrack. This tribe is a disaster. They send Garrett home, so I guess the women did get together after all, but J'Tia might kill them all in their sleep, so there's that.
As we see the typical shots of the newest batch of contestants being transported to their camps via boat and helicopter, Probst says in a voiceover that this season, they will be divided into three tribes based on their strengths. So first up is the Brains tribe, which has an average IQ of 130. That doesn't tell us that much; it could be one really smart person and then a bunch of semi-smart people and some dummies. That's leaving aside whether or not IQ is a good indicator of intelligence. Anyway, there's a dude named Spencer who claims to be a diabolical genius, although you'd think a genius might rethink that haircut and that 1998 ringer tee from Old Navy. There's a dude named David who is the President of the Miami Marlins and also quite wee. A woman named Kass is an undefeated attorney who hopes people will think she's an unassuming mom, and she's the only one I like on that tribe so far.
Then there's the Beauty tribe, as if everyone else on the show is a total uggo. Anyway, they all vow to use their looks to get what they want, because that generally works out well and when the pretty people band together, no one suspects a thing! Except that the really pretty people usually get voted out early and/or blindsided.
Then there's the Brawn tribe, which features former NBA star Cliff Robinson. A woman named Sarah is a police officer who does MMA and Tony is a police officer in Jersey City. I bet they will bond over being police officers!
Probst voiceovers that it's the ultimate challenge: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty, and this will tell us which trait is most important. Will it? I don't think so. Because it's not like the Brains and Brawn members are ugly, or the Brawn and Beauty people are all stupid, or the Brains and Beauty people are weaklings. That's why these false delineations are useless. I think I liked it better when they just named the tribes randomly and didn't try to pretend like one trait defined a person. We'll see if it's turns out to be interesting, but I don't like the concept.
The three tribes converge on the beach and take note of the makeup of the other tribes. Probst welcomes them and explains how their tribes were formed. Once Probst explains the tribe names, they easily identify which tribe is which. He then instructs them to choose a leader. The Beauty tribe chooses LJ (who I'm guessing might be the oldest tribe member), the Brawn tribe chooses Sarah (MMA Cop) and the Brains tribe chooses David (Tiny Baseball Club Owner). There is much joking about why each person was chosen, until Probst says that each leader now has to choose the weakest tribe member. Yikes.